The Zonta Club of Espoo-Kauniainen in Finland held the first-ever event with their city to raise awareness of the importance of preventing domestic violence.
On 7 November, the club organized an event together with Lyömätön Linja Espoossa ry, a Finnish NGO against violence, with the theme Say No to Domestic Violence. The event was supported by the City of Kauniainen and Veronica Rehn-Kivi, chair of the City Council.
The keynote speaker, Irma Ertman, former Ambassador to the European Union, highlighted the importance of the Istanbul Convention, adopted in Finland in 2015. The convention aims to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence by providing protection to victims and prosecuting perpetrators.
According to a study published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2014, 30 percent of Finnish women aged 18-74 had experienced physical or sexual violence by their present or former partner.
Mirjam Kalland, a docent with the University of Helsinki, spoke extensively on how violence against women may have roots in childhood. Kalland said a child needs security and comfort and expects to receive it from adults. When parents are the source of danger and pain, a child cannot seek protection from them. As a result, the child may have weaker physical health, suffer from mental problems and behavioral disorders such as abuse.
The event was published in all the local media, attracted a large audience, gave rise to a very lively discussion and is expected to result in concrete actions by the cities of Espoo and Kauniainen.